No spam ever. Unsubscribe in one click. By submitting your email address, you indicate your consent to receiving email marketing messages from us.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

2019 Gold Cup Tip

Our expert takes a look through the early ante-post betting for the Gold Cup and highlights three horses for punters to back in the feature race of 2019 Cheltenham Festival

For four days in the middle of March, the eyes of the sporting world will be fixed on Prestbury Park as it plays host to the Cheltenham Festival. 25 fantastic races build up perfectly to the showpiece contest of the meeting, the Gold Cup – the most historic, most lucrative and most coveted prize in all of National Hunt racing.

All of the sports greatest chasers have enhanced their legends with victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The great Golden Miller won the Gold Cup for five consecutive seasons in the mid-1930s and he’s since been joined on the honours board at Prestbury Park by greats like of Kauto Star, Best Mate, L’Escargot and, arguably the best racehorse of all time, Arkle.

There may be 20 weeks until the 2019 renewal of the Gold Cup, but the betting for this season’s spectacular is starting to take shape. Our expert has taken a look through the current market and identified three horses who could be worthy of an ante-post wager.

2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips

🏆 The One To Beat 🏆

I truly believe that MIGHT BITE would have won the Gold Cup last year, had the Cheltenham turf been a little firmer underfoot. He and Native River pulled a long way clear of their rivals and, as Richard Johnson began to get to work on Colin Tizzard’s front-runner, Nico De Boinville sat motionless in Might Bite saddle. After landing the last neck-and-neck, De Boinville finally asked Might Bite for an effort, but the King George winner failed to find the extra gear we all know he possesses and was forced to settle for second.

It didn’t take Might Bite long to get over that disappointment, hacking up at Aintree the following month to beat Bristol De Mai and Clan Des Obeaux in the Bowl. Nicky Henderson has professed his charge has come back to full training looking fit and well and his season will be tailored towards a second crack at the Gold Cup.

One thing that worries me is the prospect of Might Bite starting off in the Betfair Chase. The ground there is usually pretty heavy and I fear an energy-sapping trip around Haydock may take it’s toll come the end of the season. Hopefully the Might Bite team will swerve a trip to Merseyside and, should we have more favourable weather in the build-up to the Festival, Might Bite should be hard to beat in the Gold Cup.

⚠️ The Big Danger ⚠️

Although Native River bucked the trend when winning on his second attempt, the history of the Gold Cup tells punters to look towards second-season chasers and there is no doubting PRESENTING PERCY was the stand-out stayer in the novice ranks last season.

12 months on from his excellent triumph in the Pertemps Final, Pat Kelly’s charge put on a sparkling display in the RSA, pounding clear of Monalee and Al Boum Photo – both potential Gold Cup rivals – to scoop his second Festival crown. True, it wasn’t a blemish-free campaign for Presenting Percy - who was beaten on his second start and just before Festival, when Our Duke successful gave him seven pounds – but, like the previous year, Kelly’s charge saved his best for Cheltenham and his season will surely revolve around his inevitable return to Prestbury Park.

Unlike Might Bite, Presenting Percy is proven on all kinds of ground and there will be no issues regarding the extra couple of furlongs, with Kelly’s gelding having proven his stamina with a win over 29 furlongs at Fairyhouse. Davy Russell guided Lord Windemere to Gold Cup glory in 2014. He could be lifting that famous trophy again in 2019.

♞ The Dark Horse ♞

The curse that has plagued Gold Cup winners in the past five years took SIZING JOHN as it’s victim last year, as injury forced Jessica Harrington’s charge to relinquish his Gold Cup crown. A superb winner of the famous trophy in 2016, Sizing John picked up a pelvic injury during his prep-work for Cheltenham and hasn’t been seen since.

Winning the Gold Cup obviously takes a lot out of a horse, but Sizing John did manage to become the first horse since 2011 winner, Long Run, to win another race over fences following his Cheltenham Triumph. Robbie Power’s mount held off Djakadam to win the Punchestown Gold Cup just weeks after his Festival victory and kicked off last season with a brilliant triumph in the John Durkan at Punchestown.

A lacklustre display followed in the Lexus Chase, after-which Harrington found nothing amiss with her star chaser. Sizing John is likely to go down a similar path towards Cheltenham now that he has returned to full fitness and, given a few impressive performances between now and March, Sizing John could return to Cheltenham at much shorter odds than he currently holds. He remains the third-highest rated staying chaser on the planet and a fully-fit Sizing John would give anyone a run for their money.

Expert Gold Cup Tips - Walsh, Pricewise

Ruby WalshDjakadam 9/2He galloped and jumped really well in the schooling at Leopardstown last Sunday.Read
Barry GeraghtyDjakadam 9/2Wants the ground on the slow side thoughRead
Tom SegalMore of ThatOnly horse to beat Annie Power.Read
Nick WilbySizing John 7/1 (won)He can go well if his jumping holds upRead
Nina CarberryDjakadam 9/2Third time lucky with better prep than beforeRead
If the Cheltenham Festival is the most prestigious event in the National Hunt calendar, then the Gold Cup has to be the most prestigious race. Whilst it used to be considered little more than a trial for the Grand National, as the importance of the Festival has grown, so has the significance of this race. It is now the event that everyone wants to win.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup (3:20pm) is a Class A Grade 1 chase run over three miles and about two and a half furlongs. It is open to horses aged five years old and upwards. The total prize fund for 2018 is £625,000 and the race will be run on Friday, March 16.

Last chance

Cheltenham Gold Cup Facts

Recent Winners

The first Gold Cup was actually a three-mile Flat race, run in 1819 and won by Spectre. The rich history of the event since those meager beginnings would have been hard to predict when it was first run as a chase in 1924, for prize money of just £700.

Since then the race has provided us with some of the most unforgettable sporting, let alone racing, stories and achievements.

From Golden Miller’s record five consecutive wins from 1932-36, to Best Mate’s emotional hat-trick in 2002, 2003 and 2004 that was so skilfully masterminded by racing’s odd couple, Henrietta Knight and Terry Biddlecome.

From the legendary performances of Arkle, whose three victories between 1964 and 66 included a success over Mill House in one of the sports greatest ever duels and a later success at 1/10 favourite, to the great Irish mare, Dawn Run, the only horse to have won both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup.

From the heroics of the sport’s most loved performer, Desert Orchid, whose success in the mud and rain of 1989 was recently voted by Racing Post readers as the greatest ever race, to what was rated in a similar pole as the greatest training feat of all time, Michael Dickinson’s first five home in 1983.

The race continues to serve up thrilling stories, and the combination of speed, stamina and jumping that is required means that it is the ultimate test of the thoroughbred.

2018        Native River
2017        Sizing John
2016        Don Cossack
2015        Coneygree
2014        Lord Windermere
2013 Bobs Worth
2012 Synchronised
2011 Long Run
2010 Imperial Commander
2009 Kauto Star
2008 Denman
2007 Kauto Star
2006 War Of Attrition
2005 Kicking King
2004 Best Mate
2003 Best Mate
2002 Best Mate
2000 Looks Like Trouble
1999 See More Business
1998 Cool Dawn
1997 Mr Mulligan
1996 Imperial Call
1995 Master Oats
1994 The Fellow
1993 Jodami
1992 Cool Ground
1991 Garrison Savannah
1990 Norton's Coin
1989 Desert Orchid

(prior winners detailed at bottom of page)


Although run over three and a quarter miles, the pace of the race is more like a two and a half mile contest, meaning that there is an even greater emphasis on stamina. However, horses also have to have the speed to stay in contention, and have to jump well. With a long run-in, it is often the last half furlong that changes victory into defeat.

Race Facts

1. The Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most valuable non-handicap chase in Britain with total prize-money of £500,000. The first Cheltenham Gold Cup was a three-mile Flat race in 1819, won by Mr Bodenham’s Spectre. The chase as we now know it was introduced in 1924, and won that year by Red Splash. The winning prize money was £700.

2. 2006 saw the joint biggest Gold Cup field ever, with 22 runners going to post. Since the race was first run in 1924, there has only been one other renewal with more than 20 runners - in 1982 when Silver Buck defeated 21 rivals. The current maximum field is 24.

3. Golden Miller holds the record for the most Gold Cup victories, with five consecutive wins from 1932-36. The race is fiercely competitive - so much so that before Best Mate in 2002, 2003 and 2004, the last horse to win more than once was L’Escargot in 1970 and 1971.

4. Golden Miller’s owner, Dorothy Paget, is also the most successful owner in the race with an amazing seven victories, with Roman Hackle (1940) and Mont Tremblant (1952) adding to Golden Miller’s five wins.

5. The most successful trainer was Tom Dreaper, who won five Gold Cups with three separate horses, namely Prince Regent (1946), Arkle (1964-66) and Fort Leney (1968). Paul Nicholls is the most successful current handler with four victories to his name - See More Business (1999), Kauto Star (2007 & 2009) and Denman (2008).

6. Tony McCoy’s Champion Hurdle/Cheltenham Gold Cup double in 1997 on Make A Stand and Mr Mulligan was the 11th time that the big-race double has been landed by one jockey in the same year. The other jockeys to have achieved the feat were Dick Rees (1929), Tom Cullinan (1930), Ted Leader (1932), Bill Stott (1933), Gerry Wilson (1935), Aubrey Brabazon (1949 and 1950), Tim Molony (1953), Fred Winter (1961) and Norman Williamson (1995).

7. Alderbrook and Master Oats in 1995 enabled Norman Williamson and Kim Bailey to join a very select group of jockey and trainer partnerships who have won both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup in the same year. The other partnerships were Tom Cullinan and Jack Anthony in 1930, Ted Leader and Basil Briscoe in 1932, Bill Stott and Basil Briscoe in 1933, and Aubrey Brabazon and Vincent O’Brien in both 1949 and 1950.

8. Dawn Run is the only horse to have won both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup. She was successful in 1984 and 1986 respectively.

9. The longest-priced winner of the Gold Cup is Norton’s Coin, who started at 100/1 in 1990, while the shortest-priced winner was Arkle, the 1/10 favourite in 1966.

10. The last grey Gold Cup winner was Desert Orchid in 1989.

11. totesport sponsored the Cheltenham Gold Cup from 1980-2011.

12. In the Gold Cup's history only seven horses have won more than once, and the most recent of them is Kauto Star, who took the spoils in 2007 and 2009. The others were Best Mate (2002/03/04), L'Escargot (1970/71), Easter Hero (1929/30), Golden Miller (1932/33/34/35/36), Cottage Rake (1948/49/50) and Arkle (1964/65/66).

13. While Best Mate, L’Escargot, Easter Hero, Golden Miller, Cottage Rake and Arkle all recorded consecutive victories, Kauto Star became the first horse to regain the Gold Cup in 2009.

14. Since 1980, eleven 9-year-olds, nine 8-year-olds, six 7-year-olds and five 10-year-olds have been successful. The last horse over the age of 10 to win was 12-year-old What A Myth in 1969. The last six-year-old to win was Mill House in 1963.

15. Nine favourites since 1980 have justified the market confidence – Kauto Star in 2007 and 2009, Kicking King in 2005, Best Mate in 2003 and 2004, Master Oats in 1995, Desert Orchid in 1989, Dawn Run in 1986 and Bregawn in 1983.

16. The four Irish-trained winners since 1980 were War Of Attrition in 2006, Kicking King in 2005, Imperial Call in 1996 and Dawn Run 10 years before that. Irish-trained horses did better between 1946 and 1977 when 16 successes were achieved. The only French-trained winner was The Fellow in 1994, while there has also been a Welsh-trained victor in Norton’s Coin (1990).

2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup Review

The 2011 hero Long Run was well-backed to make it back-to-back wins, going off 7/4 market leader, but he was beaten fair and square on the day, with the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Synchronised running out a worthy winner on the day. He was not unbacked either having been 'Pricewised' and punted into 8/1 on the morning of the race.

He was later to loose his life in controversial circumstances in that season's Grand National.

There was much expectation in dual winner Kauto Star prior to the race and he went off a well-backed 3/1 second favourite. However, his backers soon knew their fate, with the 12-year-old being pulled up before the ninth. 

The Giant Bolster had won the Argento Chase at the track on his previous start in easy fashion, yet he went off a complete outsider here at 50/1. That didn't stop him putting in a career-best effort, though, beating all bar the winner and finishing three quarters of a length ahead of Long Run.

2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup Review

7-2 favourite Long Run powered to an enthralling victory and beat Denman and Kauto Star to win a fantastic renewal of the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen overtook Paul Nicholls' legendary Gold Cup heroes at the last fence aboard the six-year-old and bounded up the hill to record a sensational seven-length success.

Denman (8-1) was a brave second with two-time winner Kauto Star (5-1) back in third, but it was Waley-Cohen's day and the jockey explained: "He's a whole lot better than I thought he was. That's a very special feeling and he's a very special horse.

"I want to say thank you to everyone for believing in me and the horse.  This is beyond my wildest dreams. I didn't think we were going to get there, but he picked up, and I think he still had a bit left.

"When he got there he saw the crowd and he wanted to stop and have a look.  What a horse he is."

Meanwhile, delighted winning trainer Nicky Henderson explained: "It was a great race because all the horses have run great races - there's no disputing it.

"Kauto Star was probably at his best today, but Long Run is a very good young horse.

"Sam gave him a beautiful ride. There was just a moment when I thought he needed a bit of daylight going down the hill, but he was very confident and he was very professional."

2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup Review

A race that was billed as one of the most compelling duels jump racing has ever seen did indeed come down to a fight to the end between two top class chasers. Unfortunately, only one of the acclaimed duo was involved in that fight and neither of them was able to claim the greatest prize in the sport which fell instead to IMPERIAL COMMANDER, who got the best of Denman in a titanic battle up the famous hill.

Going into the race, Imperial Commander looked the only horse likely to give Denman and Kauto Star a run for their money and so it proved as the Cheltenham specialist, and last season's Ryanair winner, improved again for the step up in trip here to outstay the runner up in the closing stages.

He has an impeccable record, and is very lightly raced for his age, so has every chance of repeating the dose in this race next season. He is also best fresh, but has yet to prove himself as effective going right handed - not that that matters when so many of the top races are run this way round.

There was no fluke about this success and he was a very worthy winner indeed.

Denman ran his heart out in second and his disappointing effort at Newbury last time is now a distant memory.

He adopted his usual punishing style of running here - taking the lead with a circuit to run and gradually winding up the pace. As he did so, challenger after challenger fell by the way side such that he and Imperial Commander had the race between them from some way out.

Many would have expected him to outstay the winner on the climb to the line, but he has more miles on the clock, and some very tough miles at that, and he was very weary at the end.

He gives his all in every race and may need time to recover from his exertions here. However, he thankfully seems to be over the heart problems that plagued him last year and could be back for one last crack at this race next season.

There was a yawning gap back to last season's National hero Mon Mome, who stayed on strongly to claim third. The rain clearly helped his cause as, whilst he lacks the class of most of his opponents here, he has stamina to burn. He claimed a nice prize in the process, but may have had a harder race than connections would have liked with Aintree in mind.

Another thorough stayer, Carruthers, was fourth, reinforcing the fact that this turned into a real war of attrition. This was a brave effort as he led until the fourth last. He is just below top class, but could be placed in this race in the future if ever he gets the heavy ground he really loves.

Last year's RSA Chase winner, Cooldine (fifth) showed further signs of a revival with a solid effort here. He didnt quite seem to stay the trip on this ground, the same being true of the sixth, Calgary Bay.

Everything seemed to be going to plan for the great Kauto Star in the early stages and a couple of exuberant early leaps appeared to confirm his wellbeing. However, for some reason he ploughed through the eighth and Ruby Walsh could never quite get him balanced or in rhythm again.

His class kept him in touch, but he was being niggled along, and the writing appeared to be on the wall, when he took a horrible fall five out. Plenty feared the worst, but, mercifully, he was quickly on his feet, which was one of the best sights of the entire Festival.

The rain softened ground may have played a part in his jumping falling apart, but all horses make mistakes and provided the tumble doesnt leave any mental scars he should be back next season, when a fifth King George will be the priority.

2009 Cheltenham Gold Cup Review

Those of us lucky to follow National Hunt racing in general, and this amazing race in particular, have been treated to some moments of the greatest sporting drama in recent years - from the emotional wins of Desert Orchid in 1989 and Dawn Run in 1986, to the brilliant hat trick of success posted by Best Mate between 2002 and 2004.

But this years race served up a contest every bit as thrilling and there was an extraordinary feel good factor around Prestbury Park in the aftermath of KAUTO STARS victory.

Not only did this great chaser become the first horse ever to regain this title, he did so in style by beating last year's awesome winner Denman by 13 lengths - easily the widest winning margin since Master Oats won by 15 lengths back in 1995.

This was also a pretty much flawless victory and one that surely assures the winner of a place in the history books as one of the greatest chasers of all time

Its now 2-1 to Kauto Star in his Gold Cup clashes with Denman, but after suffering such a heart breaking defeat last season what made the difference this time around?

Well, there were probably two key factors. Firstly, Paul Nicholls has worked out that the horse is best when very fresh and he has been prepared for this race accordingly. Secondly, he jumped superbly, never putting a foot wrong on decent ground that clearly brings out the best in him.

There were actually three Nicholls runners in contention at the third last, but it was here that Kauto Star quickened the tempo and, in a matter of strides, he was away from his rivals and the race was put to bed. He was going further and further away at the death.

Last season Kauto Star won over a new legion of fans by battling bravely all the way to the line in a losing cause. His conqueror then, Denman, ran an equally game race in defeat here.

Prior to this his season had appeared to have been ruined by the heart problems that were diagnosed in September. Physically, he hasnt looked the same horse since and after a heavy defeat at Kempton last time plenty were quick to write off his career.

However, he left those doubters eating their words here and with another summer on his back to recover there is every reason to believe he can get back to his absolute best next season.

If the third, Exotic Dancer, had been born in any other era he would have been one of the most successful chasers of all time. As it is, he must be sick of the sight of Kauto Star (who has beaten him nine times) and Denman, and a place was the best he could muster once again. He lost nothing in defeat and improved markedly on last season's fifth.

Neptune Collonges was the other Nicholls runner in contention at the third last. In fact, he had led the field for much of the race up until that point. However, like Exotic Dancer, he looks set to be a perpetual bridesmaid as he lacks the finishing speed of his more illustrious stablemates. Regardless, he will win plenty more good races.

My Will finished fifth to complete a marvellous training performance by Nicholls. He stays this trip well and loves decent ground. The Grand National will be his next target.

Roll Along (sixth) posted arguably his best performance over fences to date to finish sixth, whilst Barbers Shop (seventh), who travelled really well for much of the contest, failed to stay the trip and may end up in the Ryanair next season.

Madison Du Berlais (eighth) disappointed again here and clearly prefers a flatter track, whilst Albertas Run (ninth) was a big disappointment on ground that should have suited.

2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup Review

At last the waiting was over and we were finally able to enjoy one of the most eagerly anticipated races in recent memory.

And the clash between two of the superstars of the sport didn’t disappoint as DENMAN eventually ran out a comfortable winner of the Gold Cup ahead of his fierce rival Kauto Star, who finished a gallant second.

But instead of ending, once and for all, the great debate about which of Paul Nicholls’ two legendary chasers is the best, in many ways the race posed as many questions as it answered and left us all counting down the days to a possible rematch in 2009.

There was no doubting Denman’s superiority or brilliance on the day. It is not for nothing that he is known as “The Tank” and this was a performance that underlined just how appropriate that nickname is as this bull of a horse sealed victory with an awesome display of galloping and jumping that simply ran his rivals ragged.

The early pace didn’t seem to be overly generous, but the field began to get strung out as early as the seventh fence. However, the race really began in earnest when Denman took up the running passing the stands and it was also at this critical point that Kauto Star started to lose his customary fluency over the obstacles.

Denman, by contrast, had settled into the rhythm that had served him so well in all his runs over fences to date, and one by one he gradually broke the spirits of his rivals as the field headed out into the country on their second circuit.

By the time the leaders had reached the top of the hill for the final time the scene was set for a classic showdown with the four horses left in contention being the best four staying chasers around, Denman, Kauto Star and Exotic Dancer (who were first and second in the race last year), and Neptune Collonges.

However, everyone’s focus was firmly on the big two with thousands of sets of binoculars and countless pairs of eyes flitting back and forth between Sam Thomas, whose mount was surging ahead with every stride, and Ruby Walsh, who was struggling to get Kauto Star into contention as his partner’s jumping seemed to deteriorate at every fence.

Indeed, a huge gasp went up from the vast crowd at Cheltenham as the racecourse commentator relayed the news that Walsh was being forced to draw the whip on the reigning champion as the runners began the run downhill towards three out.

By this time, Neptune Collonges had given up trying to match strides with the eventual winner and turning for home it looked like Denman would win by a distance, but to his eternal credit Kauto Star found reserves of courage he hadn’t had to show before and rallied to close the gap to seven lengths by the line.

Indeed, had Kauto Star not done his usual trick of ploughing through the final fence, the distance between the pair might have been even closer. As it was, the 2007 champion was all out to repel the challenge of the re-rallying Neptune Collonges, who sealed a 1-2-3 for Nicholls.

Halcon Generladis stayed on from a mile back to claim fourth, while Exotic Dancer, who took three out by the roots, finished legless in fifth.

So how will the history books reflect on the performances of the big two here and what might the future hold for them?

Well, we are fast running out of superlatives to describe Denman. His victory in the Hennessy was one of the most breathtaking and clinical destructions of a high class field as you are ever likely to see and he was every bit as impressive here. However, there is no doubt that this was the hardest race of his life and time will tell how well he is able to recover from his exertions. In addition, he had conditions to suit as the softening ground blunted the natural speed of his main rival, but there is no doubt that he exploited that advance to the full.

In the aftermath of the race, connections were quick to confirm that Denman is likely to follow a similar route back here next season. However, if the horse is to really have a chance of going down in history as the best ever he surely needs to be taken out of his comfort zone and given the chance to show his versatility as well as his brilliance at this trip.

A commanding victory in the King George on a flat right handed track over three miles would surely do more than anything to help his rise towards the top of the list of all time greats, whereas another victory in the Hennessy against a host of rivals running from out of the handicap would do little to enhance his huge reputation any further.

For the connections of Kauto Star, there will surely be other days. He clearly wasn’t at his best here for some reason, as his jumping lacked its usual fluency and exuberance. The ground conditions certainly didn’t suit, but maybe a host of hard races in recent seasons has started to take its toll.

His brilliant trainer will surely be tempted to freshen him up before another crack at Denman here next March. However, there is a feeling that this will always be a “home” fixture for Denman and it would be a real shame were they never to meet elsewhere.

We’ve seen plenty of quality from Kauto Star in recent seasons but one thing we learned today is that well as oozing class he possess bucket loads of courage too and that will have made his owner almost as proud as he would have been had we won.

Neptune Collognes continues to improve and could be a real threat in this contest next year. He took time to acclimatise after his move from France, but is now really starting to fulfil the reputation he came with. His performance at Wincanton last time out looked like a top class weight carrying effort and that impression was certainly confirmed here.

Nothing else really got in a blow, but Exotic Dancer ran better than his finishing position suggests and he remains in the top echelon of staying chasers. He thoroughly deserves to win another big prize.

2007 Cheltenham Gold Cup Review

This years Gold Cup lacked a bit of strength in depth and was only steadily run, which arguably worked in favour of KAUTO STAR, and as the first 11 were covered by only 20 lengths or so it would be hard to rate the bare form, particularly by Gold Cup standards. In other respects, however, it was a championship performance, and one marred only by another last-fence mistake, albeit a less dramatic one than at either Kempton or Newbury.

We knew Kauto Star was an exceptional talent, but we couldn't be certain he would appreciate this stiffer test of stamina, and the jumping had to be a worry, despite connections' protestations to the contrary. Despite the steady gallop, he settled beautifully and cruised through the race under a patient ride before creeping into contention at the top of the hill. An extraordinary number of horses were still in contention as they approached the straight with two to jump, and it got messy among the leaders, with the riderless Idle Talk still there and Turpin Green inclined to go left. But when Kauto Star was angled out and launched with his challenge, he quickly went to the front, and having gone two or three lengths clear, he was never going to be caught.

Kauto Star ultimately wasn't as spectacular as many of us hoped he might be, but he'd been kept very busy by modern standards and deserves enormous credit for winning four championship standard races in a season over such a range of distances, especially when one remembers that his principal victim in the 2m Tingle Creek Chase was Wednesday's Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Voy Por Ustedes, whom he beat impressively by seven lengths. He will be campaigned differently next season, though Paul Nicholls would love to go back to Sandown for a second Tingle Creek, and connections' sights will be set firmly on the Gold Cup. He will set a very high standard if he avoids injury, but he makes little ante-post appeal at 3-1 and under, because none of the last three Gold Cup winners has been able to defend their crown, and next year's race could theoretically include not only Kicking King and War Of Attrition, but also Kauto Star's hugely talented stablemate Denman and the impressive Arkle winner My Way De Solzen.

Exotic Dancer has been a revelation for the combination of cheekpieces, earplugs and extreme waiting tactics, and with three course wins to his name there was always a chance he would make more of a race of it this time with Kauto Star, who had beaten him eight lengths in the King George. The usual tactics were adopted,and while he made several mistakes, he was still full of running at the back of the pack four out. He got messed around a bit on the inside going to the second-last, but connections would not use that as an excuse and he was beaten fair and square again,albeit by a much narrower margin.

First of the surprise packages in the finish was Turpin Green in first-time blinkers. He had beaten Exotic Dancer at Carlisle in October, but was beaten off 147 in the Peter Marsh and a near refusal at Sandown last season was hard to forget. He has always been talented enough, though, and the headgear, along with better ground, worked a treat, because he travelled strongly to three out and kept on well enough under pressure to show much-improved form. It remains to be seen if he can repeat the form next time, but he will be well treated in the Grand National with 11st 1lb.

Monkerhostin was another who appeared to run above his limited form this season, because he was beaten around 30 lengths in the King George, yet was only ten lengths behind Kauto Star this time despite making a bad mistake in rear six out and being still detached from the pack rounding the turn. His trainer's wife, Sarah Hobbs, said the gelding had not been right this season until now, and Aintree beckons, with connections choosing between the Betfair Bowl and the National. If opting for the latter, which seems to be favoured, he would be having a first experience of the big fences. He would be 5lb worse off with Turpin Green but might just take to them.

Cane Brake came from nowhere to snatch fifth. His handicap wins in Ireland before Christmas had been under much more testing conditions off marks of only 129 and 142, so while he deserves plenty of credit for another improved run, he is another whose proximity is hardly a ringing endorsement of the form overall. He shaped as if he will be suited by further but is not in the National.

The Hennessy winner State Of Play needed to improve again to feature here, but he was still something of an unknown quantity and had plenty going for him. He went well, as expected, until after three out, despite a couple of minor errors. He was then unlucky to get messed about in the traffic congestion approaching the second.

Roll of Honour (1924-1988)

(recent winners detailed towards top of page)

Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer SP

1988 Charter Party 10-12-00 Richard Dunwoody David Nicholson 10/1

1987 The Thinker 9-12-00 Ridley Lamb Arthur Stephenson 13/2

1986 Dawn Run 8-11-09 Jonjo O'Neill Paddy Mullins IRE 15/8F

1985 Forgive N' Forget 8-12-00 Mark Dwyer Jimmy FitzGerald 7/1

1984 Burrough Hill Lad 8-12-00 Phil Tuck Jenny Pitman 7/2

1983 Bregawn 9-12-00 Graham Bradley Michael Dickinson 100/30F

1982 Silver Buck 10-12-00 Robert Earnshaw Michael Dickinson 8/1

1981 Little Owl 7-12-00 Mr Jim Wilson Peter Easterby 6/1

1980 *Master Smudge 8-12-00 Richard Hoare Arthur Barrow 14/1

1979 Alverton 9-12-00 Jonjo O'Neill Peter Easterby Snailwell 5/1JF

1978 Midnight Court 7-12-00 John Francome Fred Winter 5/2

1977 Davy Lad 7-12-00 Dessie Hughes Mick O'Toole IRE 14/1

1976 Royal Frolic 7-12-00 John Burke Fred Rimell 14/1

1975 Ten Up 8-12-00 Tommy Carberry Jim Dreaper IRE 2/1

1974 Captain Christy 7-12-00 Bobby Beasley Pat Taaffe IRE 7/1

1973 The Dikler 10-12-00 Ron Barry Fulke Walwyn 9/1

1972 Glencaraig Lady 8-12-00 Frank Berry Francis Flood IRE 6/1

1971 L'Escargot 8-12-00 Tommy Carberry Dan Moore IRE 7/2JF

1970 L'Escargot 7-12-00 Tommy Carberry Dan Moore IRE 33/1

1969 What A Myth 12-12-00 Paul Kelleway Ryan Price 8/1

1968 Fort Leney 10-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE 11/2

1967 Woodland Venture 7-12-00 Terry Biddlecombe Fred Rimell 100/8

1966 Arkle 9-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE 1/10F

1965 Arkle 8-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE 3/10F

1964 Arkle 7-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE 7/4

1963 Mill House 6-12-00 Willie Robinson Fulke Walwyn 7/2F

1962 Mandarin 11-12-00 Fred Winter Fulke Walwyn 7/2

1961 Saffron Tartan 10-12-00 Fred Winter Don Butchers 2/1F

1960 Pas Seul 7-12-00 Bill Rees Bob Turnell 6/1

1959 Roddy Owen 10-12-00 Bobby Beasley Danny Morgan IRE 5/1

1958 Kerstin 8-12-00 Stan Hayhurst Verly Bewicke 7/1

1957 Linwell 9-12-00 Michael Scudamore Charlie Mallon 100/9

1956 Limber Hill 9-12-00 Jimmy Power Bill Dutton 11/8F

1955 Gay Donald 9-12-00 Tony Grantham Jim Ford 33/1

1954 Four Ten 8-12-00 Tommy Cusack John Roberts 100/6

1953 Knock Hard 9-12-00 Tim Molony Vincent O'Brien IRE 11/2

1952 Mount Tremblant 6-12-00 Dave Dick Fulke Walwyn 8/1

1951 Silver Fame 12-12-00 Martin Molony George Beeby 6/4F

1950 Cottage Rake 11-12-00 Aubrey Brabazon Vincent O'Brien IRE 5/6F

1949 Cottage Rake 10-12-00 Aubrey Brabazon Vincent O'Brien IRE 4/6F

1948 Cottage Rake 9-12-00 Aubrey Brabazon Vincent O'Brien IRE 10/1

1947 Fortina 6-12-00 Mr Richard Black Hector Christie 8/1

1946 Prince Regent 11-12-00 Tim Hyde Tom Dreaper IRE 4/7F

1945 Red Rower 11-12-00 Davy Jones Lord Stalbridge 11/4F

1943/1944 No race

1942 Medoc II 8-12-00 Frenchie Nicholson Reg Hobbs 9/2

1941 Poet Prince 9-12-00 Roger Burford Ivor Anthony 7/2

1940 Roman Hackle 7-12-00 Evan Williams Owen Anthony Evs

1939 Brendans Cottage 9-12-00 George Owen George Beeby 8/1

1938 Morse Code 9-12-00 Danny Morgan Ivor Anthony 13/2

1937 No race (flooded)

1936 Golden Miller 9-12-00 Evan Williams Owen Anthony 21/20F

1935 Golden Miller 8-12-00 Gerry Wilson Basil Briscoe 1/2F

1934 Golden Miller 7-12-00 Gerry Wilson Basil Briscoe 6/5F

1933 Golden Miller 6-12-00 Billy Stott Basil Briscoe 4/7F

1932 Golden Miller 5-11-05 Ted Leader Basil Briscoe 13/2

1931 No race (frost)

1930 Easter Hero 10-12-00 Tommy Cullinan Jack Anthony 8/11F

1929 Easter Hero 9-12-00 Dick Rees Jack Anthony 7/4F

1928 Patron Saint 5-11-05 Dick Rees Stanley Harrison 7/2

1927 Thrown In 11-12-00 Hon Hugh Grosvenor Owen Anthony 10/1

1926 Koko 8-12-00 Tim Hamey Alfred Bickley 10/1

1925 Ballinode 9-12-00 Ted Leader Frank Morgan IRE 3/1

1924 Red Splash 5-11-05 Dick Rees Fred Withington 5/1

* Master Smudge finished second to Tied Cottage, who was subsequently disqualified for failing a post-race urine test

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2018 Selections

Claim BeforeEnhancement / OfferPrice / BoostClaim Now
17th March - 15:30
17th March - 15:30£50 free bet today100% match bet
17th March - 15:303x Boost ANY RunnerTreble odds of 1st bet

You have unread messages

You have unread messages